Schneider Shorts

Schneider Shorts 17.03.2023 – Be prepared to face the consequences

Schneider Shorts 17.03.2023 - St Carlos of Cnidaria in PNAS, appropriate action on fraud in Grenoble, protests in Groningen, how Alzheimer's, old age, obesity, COVID-19 and depression got solved, with Taras the Papermiller, publishing business setbacks, and finally, retractions galore!

Schneider Shorts of 17 March 2023 – St Carlos of Cnidaria in PNAS, appropriate action on fraud in Grenoble, protests in Groningen, how Alzheimer’s, old age, obesity, COVID-19 and depression got solved, with Taras the Papermiller, publishing business setbacks, and finally, retractions galore!

Table of Discontent

Science Elites

Science Breakthroughs

Scholarly Publishing

Retraction Watchdogging

News in Tweets

Science Elites

Nuts of Grenoble

Over four years ago, a research misconduct investigation was opened at the Institute of Advanced Biosciences (IAB) in Grenoble, France. The IAB director Pierre Hainaut informed Claire Francis in November 2019:

We have received your comments and we are taking them most seriously. They are all problematic but we agree that some of them are most problematic. An acknowledgment will be posted on Pubpeer within 24hrs. We are setting up a process to investigate them under the guidance of Inserm, the relevant parent organization. We will provide responses through Pubpeer, take appropriate actions with journals, and be prepared to face the consequences.

Sincere thanks were added. The accused scientists were Saadi Khochbin, IAB group leader and CNRS Research Director of Exceptional Class, and Sylvie Gazzeri, tenured INSERM researcher and member of an IAB team once led by Elisabeth Brambilla, and now inherited by Beatrice Eymin. All four authored together some outrageous fraud, occasionally accompanied by Brambilla’s husband, Christian.

But this is France as you know. None of the fake papers were retracted (but some corrections were issued). No responses on PubPeer were provided. Nobody was found guilty of anything, except of course any eventual whistleblowers who are the enemies of the republic.

Béatrice Eymin , Camille Leduc , Jean-Luc Coll , Elisabeth Brambilla , Sylvie Gazzeri p14ARF induces G2 arrest and apoptosis independently of p53 leading to regression of tumours established in nude mice Oncogene (2003) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1206303

But back then, only one problem was know, so it was fixed with a Correction in 2021:

“Following publication of this article, the authors became aware of an error in Fig. 3c. In the published paper, the immunoblots for p21WAF1 were inadvertently duplicated during the construction of the figure. A corrected Fig. 3c is provided below. The results and conclusions of this article are not affected by this modification. The authors apologize to readers for any inconvenience caused.”

Also this was successfully corrected in 2021:

P Ozenne , D Dayde, E Brambilla , B Eymin , S Gazzeri p14(ARF) inhibits the growth of lung adenocarcinoma cells harbouring an EGFR L858R mutation by activating a STAT3-dependent pro-apoptotic signalling pathway Oncogene (2013) doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.107

The huge Correction stated that some gel bands “were inadvertently duplicated“, original data was unavailable, but “additional experiments are shown that confirm the published results” and of course:

“The results and scientific conclusions of this paper have not been affected by these modifications.”

This correction gives a clue what the IAB investigation decided:

Arnaud Van Den Broeck , Elisabeth Brambilla , Denis Moro-Sibilot , Sylvie Lantuejoul , Christian Brambilla , Beatrice Eymin , Saadi Khochbin , Sylvie Gazzeri Loss of histone H4K20 trimethylation occurs in preneoplasia and influences prognosis of non-small cell lung cancer Clinical Cancer Research (2008) doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.ccr-08-0869 

In 2020, two editorial notes were issued. One, an Expression of Concern about the Figure 3B, mentioning “a missing splice line between samples 12 and 35, and the sets of actin blots in samples 12 and 35 appear to be duplicates.” And a Correction:

“In the original version of this article (1), Saadi Khochbin was mistakenly included in the author list. This error has been corrected in the latest PDF version of the article at the request of Saadi Khochbin and with the agreement of all the authors. The authors regret this error.”

This is how Hainaut solved the problem. They just declared that his buddy Khochbin never agreed to be author on any of those papers which the journal editors see as problematic. Thing is, there are falsified Khochbin papers WITHOUT Gazzeri. For example:

Cyril Boyault , Benoit Gilquin , Yu Zhang , Vladimir Rybin , Elspeth Garman , Wolfram Meyer-Klaucke , Patrick Matthias , Christoph W Müller , Saadi Khochbin HDAC6-p97/VCP controlled polyubiquitin chain turnover The EMBO Journal (2006) – doi: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7601210

Khochbin declared on PubPeer that “the lanes are clearly not duplicates” and “Unfortunately, the original film could not be localized“. The Grenoble piss-taker posted this as his unassailable proof for unaffected conclusions:

Now look at this train wreck:

Béatrice Eymin , Paule Claverie , Caroline Salon , Camille Leduc , Edwige Col , Elisabeth Brambilla , Saadi Khochbin , Sylvie Gazzeri p14ARF activates a Tip60-dependent and p53-independent ATM/ATR/CHK pathway in response to genotoxic stress Molecular and Cellular Biology (2006) doi: 10.1128/mcb.02240-05

In November 2019, just when IAB director Hainaut beat his chest about investigations, Gazzeri commented on PubPeer:

Thank you for your comment. We are considering it seriously. The matter is now under investigation. Information on the outcome and appropriate responses will be posted in the close future.

It’s March 2023 now. Close future came and went. And nothing at all happened. Like with this Oncogene paper, which recycles data with the above:

C Leduc , P Claverie , B Eymin , E Col , S Khochbin , E Brambilla , S Gazzeri p14ARF promotes RB accumulation through inhibition of its Tip60-dependent acetylation Oncogene (2006) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209446

Obviously the Oncogene editors agreed this paper was uncorrectable, and left it in peace.

There is a lot more of outrageously fake stuff from this Grenoble gang on PubPeer, dating three decades back, like this, faked with paper, scissors and glue:

Valérie Gouyer , Sylvie Gazzeri , Elisabeth Brambilla , Isabelle Bolon , Denis Moro , Pascal Perron , Alim Louis Benabid , Christian Brambilla Loss of heterozygosity at the RB locus correlates with loss of RB protein in primary malignant neuro-endocrine lung carcinomas International Journal of Cancer (1994) doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910580612 

Some more, to conclude what massive fraud Hainaut buried:

As CNRS president Antoine Petit once said, the incidence of fraud in France is “infinitesimal”. Because of investigations like these.

Here is another great cancer researcher in Grenoble, Charles-Henri Lecellier.

Equal Opportunity Dismissal

A female German scientist has been sacked by the Dutch University of Groningen because she publicly criticised the system.

There are huge protests, see this Open Letter from 10 March 2023:

“We, the undersigned employees and students of the University of Groningen (UG), joined by concerned observers and colleagues at institutions around the world, are appalled at the firing of Dr. Susanne Täuber. The facts of this case are clear: Dr. Täuber was punished for exerting her academic freedom. The same court that allowed the UG to fire her also made it clear that it was the university’s negative reaction to an essay about her experiences of gender discrimination at the university that “seriously disturbed” their work relationship. Alarming details have also been made public about how the university pressured Dr. Täuber to censor future publications, in order to retain her position.

The protest in front of the Academy Building on 8 March, International Women’s Day, and the continuing press attention and social media outcry, demonstrate that this case has consequences far beyond one university. Firing a scholar who publishes work that is critical of powerful institutions, including the university itself, sets a disturbing precedent for us all. We, the employees and students, ARE the UG, and we refuse to let this act be carried out in our names. We call on the University Board to reinstate Dr. Täuber, without delay, as an associate professor, and to ensure that she is provided with a safe working environment.”

The economist Susanne Täuber used to be a Rosalind Franklin Fellow, which is a Dutch program to advance women in STEM. The publication which led to her sacking was this:

Täuber, S. Undoing Gender in Academia: Personal Reflections on Equal Opportunity Schemes. Journal of Management Studies, (2020) doi: 10.1111/joms.12516


“My experiences of unintended backlash of equal opportunity schemes revolve around three key issues. First, they are designed in ways that inadvertently facilitate the structural discrimination they purportedly seek to challenge and moderate. Second, equal opportunity schemes can be seen as undermining meritocratic principles, thereby lending legitimization to senior (male) academics’ active reduction of any perceived or real benefits of the schemes. Third, the common top-down practice of imposing diversity on organizations hurts both the minority and the majority group.”

Täuber seems to think this is a specific Dutch problem. But I am not sure it’s different in Germany. Basically, all this Women in STEM advancement in academia, in Europe and North America, is still controlled by older white heterosexual males, and the women who hope to be advanced are advised to be as submissive as possible to these alpha males as well as to the alpha women emulating the alpha males whom they owe their own advancement to.

Science Breakthroughs

St Carlos of Cnidaria

You sure recall Carlos Lopez-Otin.

The cheating researcher of cancer and ageing, whose papers were exposed as fake by my colleagues, then retracted, together with his Nature mentoring award? Who temporarily hid in France with his best friend Guido Kroemer, after he destroyed evidence of his bad science by killing five thousands of transgenic mice?

You may recall that Spanish academic elites proved to be despicable fraudulent thugs we suspected them to be as they not only rallied behind their beloved St Carlos of Oviedo, but even organised a witch-hunt for his critics, with public apologies and all.

Carlos Lopez-Otin and the revoked Nature Mentoring Award

St Carlos of Oviedo almost was canonised as Spain’s first living martyr, but now Nature revoked his mentoring award. Spanish media and science elites are desperate, even the Queen is not amused. The Royal Academy of Sciences insists Lopez-Otin is a victim of journal’s failure.

Spanish elites rally in support of data manipulation

Carlos Lopez-Otin was forced to retract EIGHT papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, right after he retracted a very important paper in Nature Cell Biology. Spanish elites cry foul, a letter signed by 50 Spanish researchers was sent to JBC to prevent retractions. The ringleader is Juan Valcarcel of CRG in Barcelona, and I…

Upon St Carlos’ triumphant return to Oviedo as life-style guru blathering about the prepotence of dinosaurs (sic!), two colleagues of Lopez-Otin at the University of Oviedo who dared to criticize him, were charged with “harassment”, as Spanish media ecstatically reported. Two once critical science bloggers were made to apologise, in public, again celebrated by jeering far-right media.

And now this dirty old man is embraced with open arms by the international research community. Well, not by everyone. St Carlos recently published in PNAS:

Maria Pascual-Torner , Dido Carrero , José G. Pérez-Silva , Diana Álvarez-Puente , David Roiz-Valle , Gabriel Bretones, David Rodríguez , Daniel Maeso , Elena Mateo-González , Yaiza Español , Guillermo Mariño , José Luis Acuña , Víctor Quesada , Carlos López-Otín Comparative genomics of mortal and immortal cnidarians unveils novel keys behind rejuvenation Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2022) doi: 10.1073/pnas.2118763119

This dude worked all his life with transgenic mice until he killed them all. So Carlos the conceited fraudster decided to search for new, exotic model organisms, and found them in cnidaria, not at all deterred by his having less then zero knowledge about the biology of this animal phylum. Predictably, his paper about anti-aging genes he claims to have found in an obscure medusa species proved to be stupid, incompetent and scientifically wrong.

In their endless wisdom and generosity, PNAS now allowed an actual marine biologist, the Texas A&M University professor Maria Pia Miglietta to wedge a word in between. Her labfocuses on Evolution, Genetics, and Ecology of Hydrozoa (Cnidaria).” and her letter was published in PNAS on 9 March 2023 and it basically says that Lopez-Otin’s team has no idea what they were doing, unable even to determine what species they worked with, and their assumptions all wrong and their results all worthless:

“The assertion that T. rubra is incapable of postreproductive regeneration is incorrect. […] As the premise of the comparative analysis is incorrect, so is the claim that comparing the species’ genomes can “unveil crucial molecular pathways driving rejuvenation.” The fact that both species can rejuvenate before and after reproduction implies that both possess the genetic machinery to do so. Comparing their genomes cannot identify the keys to rejuvenation. It is similarly problematic to suggest, as the authors do, that their results should inform future research in mammalian systems. […] Finally, what the authors call the “no-reversal stage” is most likely a medusa that is taking longer to revert to a polyp (common and dependent on medusa size) and not a medusa that is failing to revert (impossible to determine a priori, as the only way to know is for the medusa to die and decompose). […]

Finally, when working with understudied non-model organisms, correct species identification is crucial. With cryptic species and species introductions, misidentifications are frequent in the genus Turritopsis (2, 8). The burden of showing that the species whose genomes are sequenced are correctly identified falls on the authors. This paper gives no information on the author(s) of the identification, how these species were identified, or the availability of voucher specimens.”

The Passion of Don Carlos

I obtained a partial script of a stage play which recently premiered in Paris: “La Passion de Don Carlos”. Any similarities with Spanish or French cancer researchers are entirely coincidental.

Now, the Editor-in-Chief of PNAS may shout out angrily, what does this crazy cnidaria woman know, Lopez-Otin’s study was peer-reviewed and approved by REAL experts in the field. Uhm yes, if the field is research fraud…

As PNAS informs us, Lopez-Otin’s letter was

“Edited by Vera Gorbunova, University of Rochester; received October 13, 2021; accepted July 6, 2022 by Editorial Board Member Helen M. Blau”

The Stanford professor Helen Blau is a stem cell biologist (in mammal system), as clueless about Cnidaria as her the colleague Vera Gorbunova, who works in aging (also in mammals). Blau is an associate of the Harvard Medical School dean George Daley, the latter had to retract a collaborative fake paper with Lopez-Otin, and then sacked the whistleblower.

Now, Gorbunova and her husband Andrei Seluanov trained their science skills in the Weizmann Institute lab of Varda Rotter (who has many papers on PubPeer). This was the result:

Andrei Seluanov , Vera Gorbunova, Ayellet Falcovitz , Alex Sigal , Michael Milyavsky , Irit Zurer , Galit Shohat , Naomi Goldfinger , Varda Rotter Change of the death pathway in senescent human fibroblasts in response to DNA damage is caused by an inability to stabilize p53 Molecular and cellular biology (2001) doi: 10.1128/mcb.21.5.1552-1564.2001 

So yes, Gorbunova was definitely qualified to judge the work by Lopez-Otin. This, children, is how peer review usually works. One incompetent approving the incompetent trash of their incompetent buddy, often some joint fraud experience thrown in the mix.

But isn’t it great to know that St Carlos of Oviedo is back, riding a medusa?

Anti-aging supplements for Alzheimer’s

You probably all heard of NAD+ supplements which are being pushed as anti-aging miracle cures by greedy buggers like David Sinclair (Harvard) and Leonard Guarente (MIT) on one side and their arch-competitor Charles Brenner (NCI City of Hope) on the other. The company ChromaDex which Brenner works for is suing Sinclair’s and Guarente’s Elysium Health over proprietary rights for NAD+ supplements.

A press release by University of Delaware informs us of a new breakthrough:

“For the first time, a researcher at the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences in collaboration with a team at the National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health, has determined that the naturally occurring dietary supplement, nicotinamide riboside (NR), can enter the brain.

The discovery was made by Christopher Martens, assistant professor of kinesiology and applied physiology and director of the Delaware Center for Cognitive Aging Research, and Dr. Dimitrios Kapogiannis, a senior investigator at the National Institute on Aging. […]

Upon consumption, NR is readily converted into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is critical to cellular repair and the repair of damaged DNA. 

“NAD+ is gradually lost as we get older or develop chronic diseases. Loss of NAD+ is linked to obesity and other negative lifestyle habits like smoking,” Martens said. “Because more NAD+ is needed to counteract those negative consequences, it’s more likely to be depleted in the face of negative lifestyle habits.” 

It was a clinical study, where NAD+ levels in participants’ brains was measured by sampling blood. You don’t get it? The buzzword is: exosomes! These are magic!

““If NAD+ went up a lot, there was typically a larger change in some of the disease biomarkers,” Martens said. “That tells us the NAD+ is not only getting into the brain but it’s likely also having some effect on its metabolism and multiple interrelated pathways.” 

Some of these blood-based biomarkers could be used down the road to determine if NAD+ depletion is a cause of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

So now NAD+ supplements not only prevent aging, their also cure Alzheimer’s! This is the paper, published last December:

Michael Vreones, Maja Mustapic, Ruin Moaddel, Krishna A. Pucha, Jacqueline Lovett, Douglas R. Seals, Dimitrios Kapogiannis and Christopher R. Martens, “Oral nicotinamide riboside raises NAD+ and lowers biomarkers of neurodegenerative pathology in plasma extracellular vesicles enriched for neuronal origin” Aging Cell. (2022), DOI: 10.1111/acel.13754

We are informed in the press release:

“Martens is leading a 12-week study involving NR in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. The study is supported by the Delaware Center for Cognitive Aging Research and the National Institute on Aging and is actively seeking more participants. “

The apper informs us that “The authors declare no competing interests” but menions:

“NR and placebo capsules for the original clinical trial were provided by ChromaDex, Inc.”

In fact, ChromaDex even issued a press release of their own regarding Martens’ paper, mentioning that it was “based on a previously published clinical trial of company’s proprietary Niagen® ingredient (patented nicotinamide riboside or NR), which was supported by the ChromaDex External Research Program (CERP™)“. In 2015, Chromadex mentioned when announcing that same clinical trial:

“ChromaDex has awarded a $100,000 research grant to Dr. Christopher Martens (a postdoctoral researcher at the Seals Lab) which will fund approximately 25% of the cost of the study.”

It was this paper, its main finding was that NAD+ supplements do nothing at all, but are tolerated well enough to continue trying:

Christopher R. Martens, Blair A. Denman, Melissa R. Mazzo, Michael L. Armstrong, Nichole Reisdorph, Matthew B. McQueen, Michel Chonchol, Douglas R. Seals Chronic nicotinamide riboside supplementation is well-tolerated and elevates NAD+ in healthy middle-aged and older adults. Nature Communications (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03421-7

This 2018 paper, which is central to ChromaDex’ lawsuit against Elysium, however also declares a total absense of any conflicts of interest and never mentions receiving any money from ChromaDex. Maybe Martens forgot. Thing is, together with his former mentor and coauthor on both studies, Douglas Seals of University of Colorado, Martens even owns a patent on NAD+ as a therapy for hypertenion and arterial pressure, the central focus of the 2018 study. Seals holds even more NAD+ patents, he was the principal investigator of the trials financed by ChromaDex, including this one:

Kaitlin A. Freeberg , Daniel H. Craighead , Christopher R. Martens , Zhiying You , Michel Chonchol , Douglas R. Seals Nicotinamide Riboside Supplementation for Treating Elevated Systolic Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness in Midlife and Older Adults Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine (2022) doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2022.881703 

“The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.”

Despite patents and ChromaDex money, no conflicts of interests anywhere.

Now, ChromaDex is where Brenner works as Chief Scientific Advisor, on Twitter he credits himself with having “Discovered NR as an NAD precursor vitamin“.

Fat old worms

More anti-aging!

A press release by University of Virginia Health System:

“Scientists from the University of Virginia (UVA) have identified a promising approach to delay aging by detoxifying the body of glycerol and glyceraldehyde, harmful by-products of fat that naturally accumulate over time.

The new findings come from UVA researcher Eyleen Jorgelina O’Rourke, PhD, and her team, who are seeking to identify the mechanisms driving healthy aging and longevity. […]

“The discovery was unexpected. We went after a very well-supported hypothesis that the secret to longevity was the activation of a cell-rejuvenating process named autophagy and ended up finding an unrecognized mechanism of health and lifespan extension,” said O’Rourke, of UVA’s Department of Biology and the UVA School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology. “An exciting aspect of the discovery is that the key to switch on this longevity mechanism is the activation of two enzymes that are very well studied because of their role in ethanol detoxification. [Ethanol is the alcohol contained in beer and bourbon]. This existing knowledge greatly facilitates our search for drugs that can specifically activate this anti-aging process.””

Is this press release a buzzword bingo? Anti-aging, check, detox, check, rejuvenation, check, booze: check? And as for autophagy, especially for anti-aging: the field is just full of fraud as everything else.

Data manipulation evidence in Helin Vakifahmetoglu papers “warrants no further consideration”

The Swedish Karolinska Institutet (KI) has investigated its own cell biologist and well-funded autophagy researcher Helin Vakifahmetoglu-Norberg, following my publishing of a dossier with evidence for data manipulations in her papers. Also PubPeer evidence was considered. This was a second investigation of Vakifahmetoglu-Norberg, who was fully acquitted by KI already in 2016. While the new KI…

This is just great:

“In their search for the secrets to slow down aging, O’Rourke and her graduate student Abbas Ghaddar and postdoc Vinod Mony turned to microscopic worms called C. elegans. These soil dwellers share more than 70% of our genes and are an invaluable tool for biomedical research; two Nobel prizes in medicine were awarded to discoveries made using this worm exclusively.”

The tiny short-lived bacteria-eating nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has no dividing tissues in its body except its germ cells. It dies from gradual poisoning, among other things from alcohol fermenting in the rotting fruit it dwells on. But for O’Rourke, these are minor differences. After all, she already proved that “Genes in human obesity loci are causal obesity genes in C. elegans” (Ke et al 2021). Now o’Rourke foudn the solution to both besity and old age:

“They did this by capitalizing on a mechanism they discovered and named AMAR, the Sanskrit word for immortality. AMAR, in this instance, stands for “Alcohol and aldehyde-dehydrogenase Mediated Anti-aging Response.” In short, the scientists found that they could prompt an anti-aging response by putting the spurs to a particular gene, adh-1. Doing so prompted the gene to produce more of an enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, that prevented the toxicity caused by glycerol and, indirectly, glyceraldehyde. The result was that the worms lived longer, healthier lives. […]

The scientists suspect that our levels of glycerol and glyceraldehyde naturally increase over time because they are toxic byproducts of fat, which we store more of as we age. Thus, AMAR may offer a way to head off the fat-derived toxicity, extend the number of years we live in good health, and maybe help us shed some extra pounds, too.”

This is the paper:

Abbas Ghaddar, Vinod K. Mony, Swarup Mishra, Samuel Berhanu, James C. Johnson, Elisa Enriquez-Hesles, Emma Harrison, Aaroh Patel, Mary Kate Horak, Jeffrey S. Smith and Eyleen J. O’Rourke, “Increased alcohol dehydrogenase 1 activity promotes longevity” Current Biology. (2023) DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2023.01.059

One of O’Rourke’s photos provided with press release. (Credit: Dan Addison | UVA Communications) Where is her lab coat?

Licorice cures everything

In 2021, MDPI published a trash paper about COVID-19 and licorice. Which now serves as a basis for a clinical trial with licorice by a German university for… depression.

Daniela Jezova , Peter Karailiev , Lucia Karailievova , Agnesa Puhova , Harald Murck Food Enrichment with Glycyrrhiza glabra Extract Suppresses ACE2 mRNA and Protein Expression in Rats—Possible Implications for COVID-19 Nutrients (2021) doi: 10.3390/nu13072321

The authors openly admit their study had nothing to do with COVID-19, its ethical approval dating to August 2018:

“This was not originally designed to study the effects of Glycyrrhiza glabra root extract on ACE2 expression, but instead, was based on data from an already performed study in rats, which addressed the effects of Glycyrrhiza glabra extract on the stress response (report in preparation). However, given the urgent need to identify treatments for COVID-19, we were motivated to address a hypothesis, which was formulated earlier [4].”

Basically, the authors (most from Slovakia) once did a weird study with rats fed with licorice root whom they abused to induce stress, and then killed. The left-over organs were years later analysed for ACE2 expression to support a weird claims about licorice as a cure for COVID-19. The prediction was made in 2020 in Frontiers by the last author, the German businessman Harald Murck, who is “the owner of the consulting company Murck-Neuroscience LLC and holds a patent for the use of glycyrrhizin in the area of depression treatment“. He is “also a full time employee of Aptinyx Inc, Evanston, IL, USA“.

Now, Munck is not the only one pushing licorice for COVID-19, other great minds do this, like the German virologist Adalbert Krawczyk and the Turkmenistan’s dictator Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Read here:

Colchicine or Licorice?

After chloroquine and ivermectin, another repurposed drug enters the COVID-19 circus arena: colchicine. But why not combining it with licorice?

Murck, who lives in USA, is for some reason adjunct professor at the University of Marburg in Germany. And this is where it gets expensive. Instead of curing COVID-19, he turned again to depression as the main target for licorice therapy:

Source: LinkedIn

A clinical trial NCT05570110 named “Enoxolone in Major Depression – Biomarker-outcome Relationship” was registered in October 2022. It is sponsored by the Philipps University Marburg Medical Center, seeks to recruit 60 depression patients, the study director is of course Murck. As he announced on LinkedIn, the first patient was already dosed with licorice derivate.

That’s our German tax money at work. Murck bears no financial risk here.

Scholarly Publishing

Wiley’s albatross

Some market news from 9 March 2023:

“John Wiley & Sons Inc. had lower sales in the fiscal third quarter as a publishing pause at one of its research brands due to compromised articles weighed on results.

The research and publishing company swung to a loss of $71.5 million, or $1.29 a share, for the quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with a profit of $35.4 million, or 63 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Stripping out one-time items, including restructuring charges and a goodwill impairment charge, adjusted earnings came to 85 cents a share.

Revenue fell 5% to $491.4 million. Stripping out effects from currency translation, revenue fell 2% from a year earlier.

The company said there was an unplanned publishing pause of special issues in its Hindawi brand due to the presence of “compromised articles.” That weighed on results in the research segment, which posted a 4% drop in revenue.”

Well, do you really think Wiley were naive about Hindawi’s papermill business with special issues, which reached its boom period soon after that Open Access publisher was bought by Wiley? Maybe Wiley execs naively thought it will never come out 😉

Now two Norwegian scientists demand for Hindawi to be blacklisted by the national science founders. Both are papermill sleuths, one of them contributed to the Chinese papermill investigation from early 2020:

The full-service paper mill and its Chinese customers

An investigation by Elisabeth Bik, Smut Clyde, Morty and Tiger BB8 reveals the workings of a paper mill. Its customers are Chinese doctors desperate for promotion. Apparently even journal editors are part of the scam, publishing fraudulent made-up science.

The magazine Universitetsavisa reported on 8 March 2023 (translated):

“Universitetsavisa wrote last year that the journal Mathematical Problems of engineering published an article that had been stolen from NTNU researchers.

University librarian Per S. Refseth at the University Library in Hamar got involved in the case at the time, and has followed the research on the publisher Hindawi.

Refseth and researcher Morten Oksvold at Oslo University Hospital have now sent a letter to Kanalregisteret, which is Norway’s register of scientific publishing channels. […]

Researcher Morten Oksvold at OUS has taken part in a survey of scientific journals. They searched for strange and unscientific phrases in the journals, and found widespread use of incomprehensible wording and identical phrases used in many different articles. They thought this was a sign that the articles were artificially generated. Many of these articles have been published in Hindawi journals. […]

Refseth says he previously had a good impression of Hindawi, and rated them in the same way as the large open access publishers MDPI and Frontiers.

– But I became interested in the case where two NTNU researchers were robbed of an article in 2022, where the pirated article was published in a Hindawi journal, says Refseth.

He therefore contacted the publisher, as he thought they were a serious publisher.

– I knew that they had been acquired by Wiley in 2021. I had email contact with three different people in Hindawi’s Research integrity team, who all assured me that they were investigating the matter. But eight months later, nothing has happened, says Refseth.”

This is the plagiarist paper in Hindawi:

Hanyun Wang , Tao Wang , Xinyi Wang, Bing Li , Congmin Ye A Stochastic Rolling Horizon-Based Approach for Power Generation Expansion Planning Mathematical Problems in Engineering (2021) doi: 10.1155/2021/6635829 

The present paper is reported to be a plagiarised version of “Capacity Expansion Planning with Stochastic Rolling Horizon Dispatch” (Bødal et al 2022). It appears that the manuscript was pirated by peer reviewers and published in the present journal.”

Hoya camphorifolia

The fraudulent Hindawi paper remains untouched.

But Hindawi’s compatitor MDPI is doing great financially, thanks to papermills:

“This year, its flagship journals, the International Journal of Molecular Sciences and Sustainability, will, respectively, host 3,514 and 3,512 special issues with a closing date in 2023 – equivalent to nine special issues a day. […]”

According to an analysis by the economist Paolo Crosetto, senior researcher at the Grenoble-based National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, the number of MDPI’s special issues continued to rise sharply in 2022. Focusing on 98 MDPI journals with an impact factor, there were 55,985 special issues with a closing date in 2023, as of 23 February, Dr Crosetto told Times Higher Education.

Taras the Papermiller

What do some of Ukrainian post-Soviet academics do when their country is being attacked by russia with deadly Iranian drones?

They buy authorships from Iranian papermills.

Meet the nanotechnologist Taras Kavetskyy, born 1974, associate professor at the Drohobych Ivan Franko State Pedagogical University, with a second affiliation at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin in Poland. And look at his publication output, which is full with Iranian papermill trash, making this Ukrainian professor an expert in everything. Most recently Kavetskyy and his Shaheed-flinging buddies in Iran published on nanoparticles for cancer therapy (Salehiabar et al 2023), dental implants (Shahi et al 2022) and, even more unusual for a nanotechnologist, on cell biology of renal diseases (Ahmadian et al 2022) and… irradiation of grape snails (Nasibova et al 2023).

One would think Kavetskyy would stop shaming his country when the full-scale war began, but nope. An example:

Shahriar Shahi , Fatemeh Dehghani , Elaheh Dalir Abdolahinia , Simin Sharifi , Elham Ahmadian , Márió Gajdács , Krisztina Kárpáti , Solmaz Maleki Dizaj , Aziz Eftekhari , Taras Kavetskyy Effect of gelatinous spongy scaffold containing nano-hydroxyapatite on the induction of odontogenic activity of dental pulp stem cells Journal of King Saud University – Science (2022) doi: 10.1016/j.jksus.2022.102340

Alexander Magazinov: “Fig. 4. XRD pattens (a) and (c) have unexpected similarities in background noise at lower angles, patterns (b) and (c) are almost identical, down to background noise, at higher angles.”
N. H. Wise: “There is a clear problem with the x-axis in figure 2, the log scale jumps straight from 1 to 100, there is no 10. Assuming the 1 should be a 10, the peak of the graph is around 40nm and there are no particles of size 70nm and above. How can the mean be 75nm?

The university was actually proud of this collaboration, here an English-language press release:

Kavetskyy on the right.

On July 10, 2017 there was a working meeting of Professor Rovshan Khalilov (Institute of Radiation Problems, NAS of Azerbaijan) with the Rector of Ivan Franko State Pedagogical University in Drohobych Professor Nadia Skotna.
The meeting was attended by the Dean of the Department of Biology and Natural Sciences Svitlana Voloshanska the faculty and the Ukrainian director of the Joint Ukrainian-Azerbaijani international scientific and educational center of nanobiotechnologies and functional nanosystems Associate Professor Taras Kavetsky. Professor Rovshan Khalilov informed about the achievements of this structure in the academic year 2016/2017, mentioning the joint publication of scientific papers in journals with high impact factor, in particular, Artificial Cells, Nanomedicine and Biotechnology (2016 Impact Factor: 5.605) in collaboration with Iranian scientists and namely, the scientific consultant of the center – Dr. Abofazl Akbar-zade and his team.

Those fancy research studies in a papermill-infested trash journal were of course all reviews. No less than NINE papers by the great Akbarzade’s papers in that very journal and elsewhere was more recently RETRACTED for fraud, and many more were flagged on PubPeer.

Here our polymath Kavetskyy was joined by another Iranian papermill customer, Fatemeh Karimi, and other Ukrainian scholars.

Rahimeh Nasiri , Behnam Gholipour , Maryam Nourmohammadi , Ziba Karimi , Samira Doaee , Reza Taghavi , Sadegh Rostamnia , Elham Zarenezhad , Fatemeh Karimi , Taras Kavetskyy , Oleh Smutok , Arnold Kiv , Vladimir Soloviev , Samad Khaksar , Ashraf Sadat Hamidi Mesoporous hybrid organosilica for stabilizing Pd nanoparticles and aerobic alcohol oxidation through Pd hydride (Pd–H2) species International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (2023) doi: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2022.04.242

Oleh Smutok is assistant professor at Clarkson University in New York, his Ukrainian affiliation is at the Institute of Cell Biology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Lviv. Another co-author is much more interesting: the space physicist Arnold Kiv, aged around 90, carrier of both Soviet and Ukrainian academic awards. His current affiliation is provided as South-Ukrainian K.D. Ushynsky National Pedagogical University in Odesa, but Kiv actually lives in Israel, he is professor at the Ben Gurion University of Negev. I wonder if this ancient old man even knows what fraudulent trash he ended up co-authoring, but I have a theory of how he got there. Now, Kiv’s original alma mater is the Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University, where he was appointed as head of the physics department already in 1971. And his mentee and successor there is another coauthor of that Iranian trash, Vladimir Soloviev. Both were keynote speakers at November 2022 virtual conference in Ukraine, meaning Kiv is neither dead nor senile.

Kavetskyy’s other papers show other co-authorships with Smutok, Soloviev and Kiv.

I informed all the Ukrainian institutions involved. In Ukrainian. No reply so far.

Oncogene ethics

The Nature-family journal Oncogene issued another correction, this time for Chinese papermill fraudsters. Because this journal, run by the crook Justin Stebbing, only retracts fake papers if the authors and their instituions beg Stebbing on their knees.

Which didn’t happen in this case:

Feng Liu , Hui Zhang , Fei Xie , Dan Tao , Xingyuan Xiao , Chao Huang , Miao Wang , Chaohui Gu , Xiaoping Zhang, Guosong Jiang Hsa_circ_0001361 promotes bladder cancer invasion and metastasis through miR-491-5p/MMP9 axis Oncogene (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41388-019-1092-z 

Fig 2G
Fig 6F
Fig 1F and Fig 4A

The first author Feng Liu insisted a year ago on PubPeer that these were “all these unintentional errors“, that “errors you raised have been discovered in our previous initiated self-investigation” and of course also that “our conclusion and novel findings are sound and solid since these issues are not related to the mechanism study.”

A correction was published on 7 July 2022, the amain article’s online version and the pdf were compeltely replaced:

“After publication, the authors recently noticed noted several errors: (1) Fig. 2G: The representative the fluorescence image of the nude mouse xenograft of No. 5 in the shcirc0001361#2 group of Figure 2G was mistakenly replaced by the fluorescence image of the nude mouse xenograft of No. 4 within the same group. (2) Fig. 4A: The image of transwell assay for T24T migration “sh-NC/plasmid group” and “sh-circ0001361/plasmid group” for T24T invasion in Fig. 4A were misused and have been replaced. (3). Fig. 6F: The images of transwell assay for “miR-491-5p/circ0001361 group” of T24T migration in Fig. 6F, “miR-NC/Vector group”, “miR-491-5p/Vector group” and “miR-NC/circ0001361 group” of UMUC3 invasion in Fig. 6F were misused and have been replaced. The authors confirm that the errors do not affect the results or conclusions of the study, and apologize for the mistake and any confusion this may have caused.”

It is Springer Nature’s and Oncogene‘s advertisement to Chinese papermills: We are open for business!

Retraction Watchdogging

The corrected paper is reliable

A paper by University of Lausanne professor Lluis Fajas in Switzerland and the bigwig cheater from Harvard, Carl Ronald Kahn, has been retracted, and it wasn’t flagged on PubPeer before:

Sylviane Lagarrigue , Isabel C. Lopez-Mejia , Pierre-Damien Denechaud , Xavier Escoté , Judit Castillo-Armengol , Veronica Jimenez , Carine Chavey , Albert Giralt , Qiuwen Lai , Lianjun Zhang , Laia Martinez-Carreres , Brigitte Delacuisine , Jean-Sébastien Annicotte , Emilie Blanchet , Sébastien Huré , Anna Abella , Francisco J. Tinahones , Joan Vendrell , Pierre Dubus , Fatima Bosch , C. Ronald Kahn, Lluis Fajas CDK4 is an essential insulin effector in adipocytes Journal of Clinical Investigation (2016)  doi: 10.1172/jci81480

The retraction notice from 15 March 2023 went:

“At the request of the corresponding author, the JCI is retracting this article. The authors became aware that the genotype of the mice described as Cdk4neo/neo Rip-Cre was incorrect. The correct mouse genotype was Cdk4neo/neo Rip-Cdk4R24C. The model used transgenically expresses the Cdk4R24C allele under the control of the rat insulin promoter (Rip-Cdk4R24C) rather than expressing Cdk4R24C in the Cdk4 locus as described in the article. Due to this unintentional error, the corresponding author requested retraction.”

The corresponding author is Fajas. In July 2022, this paper was already corrected, the authors stated that the immunoblot data in Figures 3 and 5 “were not representative“, and that the statistical analyses were fake: “the corrected data do not show statistical significance“. Also Figures 1, 4, 5 and Supplemental Figures 1, 2, and 5 were corrected, all to conclude:

“The authors have confirmed the accuracy of the data and that the corrected paper is reliable.”

Now, Kahn has a long PubPeer record and by now 4 retractions.

Fajas also has a PubPeer record of fake science, usually as last author or as first author with his patron at the University of Lausanne, Johan Auwerx. I discussed it briefly in earlier Shorts.

Here a more recent find:

T Botton , A Puissant , Y Cheli , T Tomic , S Giuliano , L Fajas , M Deckert , J-P Ortonne , C Bertolotto , S Tartare-Deckert , R Ballotti , S Rocchi Ciglitazone negatively regulates CXCL1 signaling through MITF to suppress melanoma growth Cell Death and Differentiation (2011) doi: 10.1038/cdd.2010.75 

I asked Fajas if he was under investigation, he didn’t reply. Probably he isn’t, just like Auwerx isn’t, and just like Adriano Aguzzi in Zürich isn’t. In Switzerland, they don’t like scandals and therefore just don’t investigate. And if they do investigate, they always find the accused white male professor innocent, like it was with Marc Donath in Basel or with Michael Hottiger, also in Zürich. Admittedly, Olivier Voinnet at ETH was found guilty due to media pressure, but only a bit, and kept in his job.

Aguzzi and the Lowlifes

The prion researcher Adriano Aguzzi used to describe his Pubpeer critics as “lowlifes”, and himself as a victim of a lynch mob. But after Elisabeth Bik helped him find even more mistakes in his papers, Aguzzi changed his stance.

Quite likely the retraction request came from Harvard; after all Kahn despite his grandeur has a reputation. Over 50 fake papers on PubPeer is nothing to sniff at.

O du lieber Augustine

In the same journal, a retraction for the fallen ex-Dean of the Weill Cornell Medical School, Augustine MK Choi. It is Choi’s third retraction.

O du lieber Augustine MK Choi

Augustine Choi is Dean of Weill Cornell and a misunderstood genius. He discovered that carbon monoxide is a cure for all possible diseases, just add a bit of Photoshop.

Like above, also this paper wasn’t so far flagged on PubPeer:

Jong-Seok Moon , Seonmin Lee , Mi-Ae Park , Ilias I. Siempos , Maria Haslip , Patty J. Lee , Mijin Yun , Chun K. Kim , Judie Howrylak , Stefan W. Ryter , Kiichi Nakahira , Augustine M.K. Choi UCP2-induced fatty acid synthase promotes NLRP3 inflammasome activation during sepsis Journal of Clinical Investigation (2015) doi: 10.1172/jci78253

The retraction notice from 15 March 2023:

“Cornell University, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital jointly notified the JCI that Figures 3A, 4D, 7B, and 8B and Supplemental Figures 4 and 7A are not reliable. In accordance with the institutional recommendations, the JCI is retracting this article.”

Choi is listed as affiliated with all three institutions, and so is his collaborator and coauthor on many fake papers, Stefan Ryter. According to the his LinkedIn, Ryter’s current day job is “Senior Scientist at Proterris, Inc”, with Weill Cornell he is only connected via an assistant professorship.

The Editor has decided

Retraction for the gang of Masayasu Iwase, University of Showa in Japan, from 6 March 2023.

Oral oncology at Showa University

“”Dear Aneurus Inconstans, thank you for your series of valuable suggestions. We will sincerely verify the matters pointed out. I’m sorry, many collaborators have already resigned from academia.”

Sayaka Yoshiba, Masayasu Iwase, Sayaka Kurihara , Makiko Uchida , Yuji Kurihara , Hitoshi Watanabe , Satoru Shintani Proteasome inhibitor sensitizes oral squamous cell carcinoma cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis Oncology Reports (2011) doi: 10.3892/or.2010.1127 

In February 2021, Iwase blamed the first author who exactly 2 years later announced, also on PubPeer, to retract this paper becasue “research misconduct was pointed out“, adding: “I can’t apologize enough for it.”

This was the Retraction notice from 6 March 2023.

“”Following the publication of this paper, it was drawn to the Editor’s attention by a concerned reader that, in Fig. 4 on p. 650, the same β‑actin bands had apparently been used to show the experimental effects of the proteasome inhibitor MG‑132 on c‑FLIP in HSC‑2 cells in Fig. 4A, and the effects of MG‑132 on IAPs in HSC‑3 cells in Fig. 4B. In addition, for the fourth lane in the gel showing the effects of MG‑132 on c‑FLIP in HSC‑3 cells, this should have been labelled as ‘+MG‑132 / +TRAIL’ (not as ‘‑/‑’). Upon contacting the authors in relation to this matter, they could only admit that errors had been made in the preparation of the figure; moreover, they no longer had access to the original data owing to the time that has elapsed since the publication of the paper, and it would be impossible for them to now repeat this experiment. After having considered this matter and in conjunction with a request made by the authors, the Editor of Oncology Reports has decided that this paper should be retracted from the publication. Both the Editor and the authors apologize to the readership for any inconvenience caused.”

Truth is, Spandidos is a massive fraud factory, which even entered a cosy business relationship with papermills. The retraction was likely ordered in Japan. Now the brave fraud-fighting editor of that journal is, let me check…. Oh.

The publisher’s eponymous owner, Demetrios Spandidos himself.

Assisted by two deputy editors who are of course his children: “ATHANASIA SPANDIDOS,  BSc (Hons), PhD, CV” and “NIKIFOROS A. SPANDIDOS,  BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD”

In the 1990ies, Demetrios was kicked out of science for research misconduct, his fraud was exposed by… another cancer research cheater, Robert Weinberg (owner of 6 retractions). This is how it works: Big fraudsters expose smaller fraudsters, who expose even smaller fraudsters, and so it goes down the food chain until everyone feels like a research ethics hero.

Lack of adequate data

Another retraction for Shaker Mousa, still for some reason emplyoed by the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in New York.

Ebtesam A Mohamad , Aya A Aly , Aya A Khalaf , Mona I Ahmed , Reham M Kamel , Sherouk M Abdelnaby , Yasmine H Abdelzaher , Marize G Sedrak , Shaker A Mousa Evaluation of Natural Bioactive-Derived Punicalagin Niosomes in Skin-Aging Processes Accelerated by Oxidant and Ultraviolet Radiation Drug Design Development and Therapy (2021) doi: 10.2147/dddt.s316247 

Actinopolyspora biskrensis: “Could the authors please explain how the HPLC chromatograms presented in Figure 1A and Figure 1B were generated? The plot lines do not seem to be lined up with the axes and the methods described do not seem to account for that variation.[…]
There are also what appear to be hash marks that do not seem to correspond to anything – one marked with purple oval.

The retraction notice from 13 March 2023 stated:

“Concerns were raised regarding the integrity of the HPLC chromatograms presented in Figure 1, where the values of the peaks did not appear to correspond with the values shown along the x-axis.

The authors did respond to our queries and explained that their laboratory does not have access to an HPLC device and the HPLC experiments were performed by a third-party. They further explained that errors had been made during calculations of the retention times, but they were unable to explain how this occurred. In addition, discrepancies remained in the retention times of the corrected HPLC chromatograms the authors provided, and there was a lack of adequate data associated with these experiments.

The Editor determined that the explanation for the calculation errors and availability of original data were both insufficient and had concerns over the reliability of the reported findings. The Editor requested for the article to be retracted and the authors were notified of this.”

Basically, the Egypt-born Albany professor admitted to have bought the study from a papermill. Egypt has a very strong papermill industry, read here:

An attractive and “natural” target for fraudsters

“In the various excellent texts on paper mills the question is discussed why Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Archives of Pharmacology has become a target for fake papers. I oppose the assumption that we simply want to fill pages with pseudo-scientific content. We actually look for quality and good science.” – Prof Dr Roland Seifert, Editor-in-Chief

The authors do not agree

Another retraction for Omer Nur and Magnus Willander, the cheaters of the Linköping University (LiU) in Sweden. Both men are still employed by LiU despite fraud findings.

Omer Nour and Magnus Willander guilty of research misconduct

“The Board assesses that there are no scientifically acceptable explanations for why the notified researchers have fabricated research results in the manner that has occurred in the notified articles. Raw data also does not support the reported results. [..] In summary, the Board finds therefore that the notified researchers have been guilty of misconduct in…

This paper was part of the misconduct investigation by the Swedish national authority NPOF, the datasets were found to have been “fabricated”:

Mahsa Pirhashemi , Sami Elhag , Aziz Habibi-Yangjeh , Galia Pozina, Magnus Willander, Omer Nur Polyethylene glycol-doped BiZn2VO6 as a high-efficiency solar-light-activated photocatalyst with substantial durability toward photodegradation of organic contaminations RSC Advances (2018) doi: 10.1039/c8ra06896h 

Thallarcha lechrioleuca: “Fig.2 XRD patterns for ZnO NRs, PEG-doped ZnO NRs, BiVO4, BiZn2VO6, and PEG-doped BiZn2VO6 with different (w/v) percentages of PEG. Five XRD patterns on the top of figure are identical, two on the bottom are also very similar
Fig 13b appears to contain a duplicated XRD pattern with the only difference being vertical rescaling.”

The retraction notice from 2 March 2023 stated:

The Royal Society of Chemistry hereby wholly retracts this RSC Advances article due to concerns with the reliability of the data. The Editor has been contacted by Linköping University, Sweden regarding an investigation by the National Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct (NPOF) which has concluded that this RSC Advances article contains fabricated XRD data in Fig 2 and 13b.

The authors do not agree with NPOF’s ruling of research misconduct.

A. Habibi-Yangjeh stated that this research has been carried out in Linköping University, Sweden, under the supervision of Dr Omer Nur, during the sabbatical leave of the first author. In this paper, the contribution of A. Habibi-Yangjeh was discussion about the photocatalysis results and editing of the proof, and he has not contributed in XRD analyses, which are the subject of this retraction.

The other authors have not responded to correspondence regarding this retraction.

Linköping haunted by fake spectra

Linköping University has another potential research misconduct case, again in material sciences. Four papers by LiU professors Ömer Nur and Magnus Willander are questioned on PubPeer

Nur and Willander already sustained a retraction last year:

The retraction notice from 6 September 2022 stated:

“The editor and publisher are retracting the referenced paper1 due to concerns over the reliability of its data. Certain regions of the x-ray diffraction data in Fig. 4 are pixel-identical despite the data being for different materials. Some of these data show identical noise patterns, which is physically impossible.”

Of course one might wonder, why does LiU still employed these fraudsters? Willander is probbaly near retirment, LiU previously solved the problem with Tiwari’s patron Tony Turner the same way.

But Nur? Why is he still at LiU? Probably because he is publishing many papers still! His secret is having recently teamed up with the (papermilling?) fraudster Mohammed Mannaa from Yemen. Examples for the Mannaa-Nur collaboration:

Abutalib et al 2022 “Fig.10 Unexpected similarity
Alghamdi et al 2022 “The same image was used in 2 papers for NiO/TiO2 and FeTiO2 Second paper

News in Tweets

  • The Marseille Criminal Court, which is judging the dispute between Magali Carcopino-Tusoli, daughter of the hydroxychloroquine defender, and the “Sheriff of the University Hospital Institute”, has received a new element: the communication by Twitter of the number of phone associated with the @LeProfessionne9 account, which belongs to the latter.” (Le Monde)

France’s Ugly Brown Derriere

“legions d’honneurs, prix, promotion…. Le champ du cygne de ce système politico médical qui n’a plus le choix que de se soutenir mutuellement. Patience, en d’autre temps, on a donné des médailles aux derniers combatants. On connait la fin” – Capitaine Eric Chabriere.

  • BBC journalist reports: “In three years of investigating supposed treatments for RP [retinitis pigmentosa], I spoke to dozens of patients like me who had been given false hope, and I met many doctors claiming to have miraculous therapies – in places as varied as Miami, USA, Russia and Gaza. […] But the case of Miami’s Dr Jeffrey Weiss – who says in his promotional videos, “I am treating the untreatable. I am treating people who have never had hope” – was the most disturbing, taking place in one of the most highly regulated healthcare systems in the world. The treatment is actually a clinical trial run by Dr Weiss, who performs the operation, and his colleague Dr Steven Levy, who is chair of the study and who has the initial discussions with patients. […] I called Dr Levy, posing as a patient and secretly recording him, to see what he tells patients about the trial. He told me that it involved taking stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow and then injecting them under the eyelids and into the back of the eye sockets.

The stem cell faith healers, or magic inside your bone marrow

Bone marrow stem cells are magic, they can do everything. If you don’t believe it, you are simply a loser scientist and will never get funded. Prior to his bombastic fall from grace, the celebrity surgeon and professor of regenerative medicine Paolo Macchiarini was considered a genius stem cell wizard and a miracle healer. He…

  • Great stuff by Elsevier, the American Pharmacist Association, and their Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences: Bekhet et al 2022
  • Zeynep Tufekci in New York Times: “The debate over masks’ effectiveness in fighting the spread of the coronavirus intensified recently when a respected scientific nonprofit said its review of studies assessing measures to impede the spread of viral illnesses found it was “uncertain whether wearing masks or N95/P2 respirators helps to slow the spread of respiratory viruses.” Now the organization, Cochrane, says that the way it summarized the review was unclear and imprecise, and that the way some people interpreted it was wrong.” The Cochrane review Jefferson et al 2023 summed up: “There is uncertainty about the effects of face masks. The low to moderate certainty of evidence means our confidence in the effect estimate is limited, and that the true effect may be different from the observed estimate of the effect. The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks. There were no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection.” Right…
  • It seems, the mad struck-off quack Richard Fleming aka Dr who? made himself a PhD diploma with Photoshop.

Cheshire vs Dr who?

If you follow Cheshire on Twitter, you surely heard him referencing a certain “Dr who?”. The following guest post exposes a very toxic fraudster and covidiot.


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15 comments on “Schneider Shorts 17.03.2023 – Be prepared to face the consequences

  1. smut.clyde

    According to an analysis by the economist Paolo Crosetto, senior researcher at the Grenoble-based National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, the number of MDPI’s special issues continued to rise sharply in 2022.

    His blogpost from two years ago is worth reading too.


  2. Klaas van Dijk

    Anyone any idea when Pieter Borger became a ‘research associate’ at this christian entity? Readers of his recent papers and of his recent preprints are not informed about this side-job / affiliation.


  3. smut.clyde

    “Now the organization, Cochrane, says that the way it summarized the review was unclear and imprecise, and that the way some people interpreted it was wrong”

    When the author of a meta-analysis goes on to lie about the context of the analysis and about its conclusions in an interview with a like-minded result-fabricating loon like Demasi, one has to wonder how much cherry-picking went into the analysis itself. Especially when the author is a COVID-denialist and right-wing fuckpuppet like Tom Jefferson.


    • smut.clyde

      Since he became the property of a billionaire slush-fund (the Brownstone Institute), Jefferson’s output can be summarised as follows:
      1. COVID-19 doesn’t exist.
      2. If it does exist, it’s really rare, and most of the diagnoses are spurious (caused by running RT-PCR with too many cycles).
      3. If it’s not so rare, it’s hardly ever fatal, and most cases of “Died of COVID” are really “Died with COVID”, with pre-existing conditions being the real cause of death.
      4. If it is often fatal, there is nothing to be done about it, except to catch it early and avoid the rush – neither lockdowns, masks nor vaccines work, and all cause damage.
      5. All you proles need to go on working and consuming – Don’t expect a holiday.

      Interchangeable with Bhattacharya (another Brownstone fuckpuppet), Ioannidis and professional contrarian Gøtzsche.

      His Cochrane report was a meta-analysis about initiatives to promote mask-wearing. Now of course initiatives to promote masks have little effect these days, because it has become a shibboleth of rightwing politics that they don’t work and wearing them betrays a disturbing lack of faith (thanks to duckspeakers like Jefferson), so of course the analysis found little evidence of efficacy. Why didn’t he analyse the more widely-studied effects of masking per se? The answer is that he probably did, and found a net positive result, which was contrary to the intended message.

      To ensure that the message was properly distorted before entering the conduit into the Fox News echo-chamber and the Human Centipede of rightwing disinformation, Jefferson set up an interview with science-fraudster ex-journalist Maryanne Demasi (familiar to Retraction Watch readers). There they took turns lying about his Cochrane report.


  4. laurence

    You have also these manuscripts from Grenoble
    Interesting in copy/paste bands


  5. magazinovalex

    From my inbox; dated as early as 28 Jan 2022. Some readers may know or guess the context.

    …smaller journals with editors with heart will filter these out, but the larger journals just publish so much stuff without any proper review. We will only see an increase in fake papers: publishers are completely restructuring to build mega journals with underpaid and unexperienced (but “diverse”!) editors, introducing ‘new reviewer policies’ that only increase fast and meaningless reviewing as well as having found such clever ways to capitalize open access (hint: everything happening at Hindawi has nothing to do with science).


    • Source?
      But now I know why this big evil diverse PLOS One is so full of papermill fraud, while all these cute little Hindawi and MDPI journals are the paragons of quality and scholarly learning.
      Oh wait.


      • magazinovalex

        PM’ed the source: you know the context.

        But to be fair, PLoS is indeed quite papermill-ish, while Hindawi and especially MDPI journals are not that small.


      • I would like to earnestly defend PLOS One here. They sure publish a lot of trash, but since 2016 or so they really crack down on fraud.
        Society journals like Naunyun Schmiedeberg’s or those journal-shaped thingies at Elsevier on the other hand….


  6. Arnold Kiv now reply by email, subject “Reaction to slander”. Translated:
    “Friend “journalist”,

    ” In my lifetime, I have not come across laws or recommendations that would regulate at what degree of dementia (“senility”) one should stop doing science. But judging by the time you stopped doing science, I understand that you have already reached that limit. As for the reaction of our management (and other organizations), be patient – you will get it. A. KIV

    PS By the way, since 2007, I never left Ukraine, I headed the department and was the chairman of the special council for the defense of theses. This is just one stroke from your set of slanders and insults. I strongly advise you to send an apology to all your addresses with a reference to the dishonest people who let you down.”

    I asked him why he then claims on LinkedIn to be professor in Israel.
    And what about this trash:
    Taras Kavetskyy , Mahdieh Alipour , Oleh Smutok , Oksana Mushynska , Arnold Kiv , Dietmar Fink , Fatemeh Farshchi , Elham Ahmadian , Mohammad Hasanzadeh
    Magneto-immunoassay of cancer biomarkers: Recent progress and challenges in biomedical analysis
    Microchemical Journal (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.microc.2021.106320
    The paper contains tortured phrases and nonsense references.
    Pity Kiv missed co-authoring these works by Hasanzadeh:


    • Klaas van Dijk

      hi Leonid,

      Ronald Meester, a full professor in mathemathics at VU Amsterdam, has silently retracted an antivax preprint he had published in December 2021 at ResearchGate. Ronald Meester and his co-authors, Theo Schetters of the University of Pretoria and Wouter Aukema, have never responsed on several questions by me and by others about this preprint, see for an overview.

      They have as well never released software and calculations etc. to enable others to conduct recalculations of the findings in this preprint. I am aware of at least 3 mathemathicians who had asked Ronald Meester to send them the software and these calculations / data, all reported to me that they got no response from Ronald Meester (one of them got blocked on LinkedIn). I had contacted VU Amsterdam several times about this issue and I had filed several complaints about this topic at VU Amsterdam. Even LOWI got involved. LOWI has decided that my behaviour was malicious. It was also no problem at all for anyone at LOWI that Ronald Meester was and is spreading dangerous disinformation about the safety of the mRNA vaccines, etc.

      It goes without saying that no one was informed about this silent retraction.

      Ronald Meester and Wouter Aukema have in the meanwhile posted another antivax paper about this topic at ResearchGate, “A likelihood analysis of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine safety in the third booster campaign in The Netherlands”, see

      This paper was published on 22 February 2023. It has no DOI and there are no indications that it is published in a journal and/or that is will (soon) be published in a journal. This paper was not posted as preprint at ResearchGate. It therefore has no DOI provided by ResearchGate. A separate thread at Pubpeer is therefore not possible. Readers with an account at ResearchGate can use the tab “comments” to post remarks about this new antivax paper by Ronald Meester, a (hardcore) creationist, see for some backgrounds.


    • Arnold Kiv claimed on LinkedIn and at virtually every conference he attended to be Professor at Ben Gurion University of Negev in Israel.
      E.g. here:
      Well, this is what the university’s spokesperson told me:

      “He was employed to conduct research on occasion but was never a professor here.”


  7. Pingback: Clima e dintorni – ocasapiens

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